Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 12/13

Game 1: Friday, December 13th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 15th

Lakers 90

(18-20, 5-14 away)

Hornets 82

(20-20, 12-6 home)

    Coverage: COX

    7:30 PM ET, January 15, 2003

    Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAL 23 32 19 1690
    NO 29 19 21 1382

    Top Performers

    LAL: K. Bryant 36 Pts, 11 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    NO: B. Davis 20 Pts, 3 Reb, 6 Ast, 4 Stl

    Bryant's monster effort lifts Lakers to fifth straight win

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Kobe Bryant put the Los Angeles Lakers in position to beat the New Orleans Hornets, and Shaquille O'Neal finished the job.

    Kobe Bryant

    Kobe Bryant soars for two of his game-high 36 points on Wednesday.

    Bryant scored 32 of his 36 points in the first three quarters, and O'Neal scored 10 of his 23 in the final period to lead the Lakers to a 90-82 victory Wednesday night.

    "Kobe is putting up MVP-type numbers. Sometimes he goes off and sometimes I go off, and that's what having a one-two punch is all about,'' O'Neal said.

    O'Neal and Bryant also had 11 rebounds each for Los Angeles, which held New Orleans without a field goal for the last 8:20 to win its fifth straight and improve to 5-14 on the road.

    "It's all about defense for us, and if we can continue playing like this, we should be right back on track in no time,'' said O'Neal, who also had five fourth-quarter rebounds. "We're getting our swagger back, and it's good to see the guys playing like that.''

    "When you get into the fourth quarter, you don't win offensively, you win with defense,'' Bryant said.

    After a dreadful start to the season, the Lakers are within two victories of a .500 record and starting to look like three-time defending champions.

    "I think it's just re-establishing ourselves a little bit as a basketball team -- to be able to pull things together as a team. There are some second-effort things that are helping us do that,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.

    Baron Davis, back in the lineup for the first time in six games for New Orleans, scored 20, including four 3-pointers, but he went 0-for-5 in the fourth quarter as the Hornets lost their fifth straight.

    Jamal Mashburn added 19 for New Orleans, while David Wesley scored 14 and P.J. Brown had 12 points and 14 rebounds.

    Robert Horry added 10 points for the Lakers, who have gone 9-5 since losing to New Orleans in Los Angeles on Dec. 13. The Hornets are 3-13 since then.

    New Orleans' last field goal of the game was a 3-pointer that gave it a 77-76 lead. Then O'Neal took over, scoring eight of the Lakers' next 10 points, including a three-point play when he was fouled inside after getting a loose ball.

    O'Neal, who shot 5-for-17 through the first three quarters, said he had to persevere though clutching, grabbing and a lack of fouls called to put together a strong final period.

    "With a player like me, I always miss for a reason, and the reason was they were hanging all over my arms, but I don't complain about it and I continue to play,'' O'Neal said.

    New Orleans, which trailed most of the second and third quarters, pulled head 65-64 on a baseline jumper by Brown. Davis and Wesley each had steals and lay-ins leading up to Brown's shot.

    But Bryant gave the Lakers the lead right back with a pair of free throws. As the third quarter came to a close, Bryant got the ball on a break and muscled the ball up and into the hoop, even as Wesley bear-hugged him. Bryant made the ensuing free throw and the Lakers led 74-69.

    "I think we have to get a lot more consistent with our offensive game,'' Davis said. "We have to utilize all our weapons. I don't think we're doing a good job of utilizing everyone and sharing the ball as a club. A lot of times, that comes back to haunt you.''

    Davis' return to the lineup produced immediate dividends, as he hit a 3-pointer on his first shot, then added another 3-pointer and a fade over Bryant on his way to eight points and three assists in his first seven minutes.

    Meanwhile, Mashburn hit an early 3-pointer, and his turnaround capped a 13-2 run that gave New Orleans a 25-15 lead late in the first quarter.

    But New Orleans turned the ball over three times in four possessions to start the second quarter, one time sending Bryant in alone for an authoritative double-pump reverse dunk that put Los Angeles back in the lead 30-29.

    Game notes

    George Lynch started in place of Mashburn because one of Mashburn's contact lenses popped out just as the game was about to begin. Mashburn, who had started the first 39 games this season. ... Top entertainers are a common sight at Lakers' home games, and they were on hand in New Orleans as well. Rock star Lenny Kravitz, wearing sunglasses throughout the night, sat in the front row next to Hornets co-owner Ray Wooldridge. Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman also were there. ... The crowd was a standing-room-only 18,509, the largest of the season. ... O'Neal, a former star at LSU, received enthusiastic applause when he was introduced. Dale Brown, O'Neal's coach at LSU, sat behind the Lakers' bench. The two embraced before the game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 90 82
    FGM-FGA 34-83 (.410) 29-74 (.392)
    3PM-3PA 4-13 (.308) 8-19 (.421)
    FTM-FTA 18-25 (.720) 16-21 (.762)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 17-50 9-42
    Assists 16 21
    Turnovers 11 15
    Steals 9 7
    Blocks 7 3
    Fast Break Points 4 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (0/0) 24 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    New Orleans
    Kobe Bryant Bryant
    Points: 36
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 2
    Baron Davis Davis
    Points: 20
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 0